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alcohol teen brain

Alcohol and its impact on the teen brain

The teen brain is more sensitive to the poisoning effects of alcohol on the neural connections for learning, memory and judgment compared to the adult brain.

Concussion

Concussion disrupts girl’s life, but not her attitude

A skateboarding injury hindered Stephanie’s daily life for months but inspired her to educate others.

early childhood development

Children’s Pedcast: Developing the infant-toddler brain

Gigi Chawla, MD, and Mike Troy, PhD, talk about how children ages 0-3 can best learn and what parents need and don't need to raise a healthy child.

Grand Rounds: New innovations in pediatric neurosurgery

Jun 30, 2016, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM, St. Paul

This week's grand rounds will feature:

Children’s Pedcast: Constraint-induced movement therapy

Physical therapists Kathy Grinde and Jayne Myhre of rehabilitation services join the show from the rehabilitation clinic in Maple Grove to discuss the benefits of constraint-induced movement therapy.

About the Brain

Before you can understand about brain and spinal tumors, it’s helpful to understand the anatomy of the brain and spine and how they function.

Optic Pathway Glioma

An optic pathway glioma is a subset of low grade astrocytoma that grows in a portion of the optic pathway (optic nerve, optic chiasm, optic radiations).  Optic gliomas typically grow as an infiltrative lesion with poorly defined borders.  Because they are infiltrative they often extend and involve the entire optic pathway.  They also frequently extend into adjacent structures, such as the hypothalamus. Optic chiasmatic and hypothalamic gliomas are often considered a single entity because of their ability to infiltrate into both compartments regardless of the site of origin of the tumor.  These tumors originate from astrocytes, which are star-shaped brain cells.  Astrocytes are a type of glial cell which function to support the surrounding cells. Optic pathway/hypothalamic gliomas account for 4-6% of all brain tumors in children and 30% of all pediatric gliomas.  The peak incidence is during the first decade of life.

Intracranial Germ Cell Tumor

Germ cell tumors (GCTs) arise from primordial germ cells that did not migrate appropriately during embryonic development.   Residual primordial germ cells deposited in the brain give rise to intracranial germ cell tumors.  These residual primordial germ cells tend to be located in the midline of the body; therefore intracranial germ cell tumors typically originate in the suprasellar or pineal region.  Rarely GCTs originate in other midline intracranial locations including the basal ganglia, thalamus, and ventricles.  Intracranial germ cell tumors are twice as likely to be located in the pineal region compared to the suprasellar region.  Approximately 5-10% of cases have “bi-focal” disease, defined as simultaneous involvement of the suprasellar and pineal region.  Intracranial germ cell tumors mainly occur in adolescents and young adults (peak incidence is 10-12 years of age) and are more commonly seen in boys.  These tumors have the capacity to spread (metastasize) through the spinal fluid (leptomeningeal spread).

Medulloblastoma or PNET

Medulloblastoma (also referred to as primitive neuroectodermal tumor or PNET) arises from the primitive or embryonal cells of the cerebellum. Medulloblastoma is a tumor that arises within the cerebellum and often grows into the fourth ventricle. These tumors have the capacity to spread (metastasize) through the spinal fluid (leptomeningeal spread), occurring in approximately 30% of cases, and they rarely spread to bone and bone marrow.

Ependymoma

An ependymoma is a tumor that arises from the ependymal cells, which line the ventricles of the brain and the central canal of the spinal cord.  Ependymomas are typically found in three major locations: the posterior fossa, the supratentorium, and the spinal cord.  Over 90% of ependymoma arise from the brain and 10% arise for the spinal cord.  Ependymomas rarely spread (metastasize) from their site of origin.